Are you thinking about trying physical therapy but you aren’t sure where to start? Or maybe you dislike going to the doctor, and so going to physical therapy kind of freaks you out. No matter what worries you about starting physical therapy, it’s worth the effort that it will take because physical therapy can help make you feel quite a bit better.
It helps some people to know what to expect when they go to a physical therapist office. In fact, knowing what to expect can alleviate a lot of the anxiety and the jitters that you get before going to your first appointment. Here’s what it’s like to see many physical therapists.
Your First Appointment
Many physical therapists do a consultation or an assessment for the first appointment. This means that they will review your medical condition and all of your medical history and ask you questions about what you are experiencing. You should go in ready to talk about your pain. be prepared to tell your physical therapist how your pain limits you, what you would like to be doing that you aren’t doing because you’re in pain, and what your ultimate goals for your body and its movement are.
Once you have been assessed, your physical therapist should come up with a treatment plan for you. This treatment plan should be customized for your goals, for the amount of pain that you’re in, and for the type of injury or condition that you have. For instance, post op rehab will be different from motor vehicle accident injury rehab.
You should feel comfortable with the plan for your physical therapy. After all, you’re the one who’s going to have to do it! If you have questions about the plan, this is probably a good time to ask them. You should also make sure that your physical therapist is willing to change or amend the plan as you go through therapy, in case you hit some pitfalls, find that certain exercises don’t work for you, or end up in more pain.
Physical therapists will begin to implement their treatment plan on that first day. They may take you into a room with exercise equipment, or equipment that you haven’t seen before. This can be nerve-wracking, but it’s nothing to worry about. Your therapists are trained to use all of the available equipment to help your body heal. If there’s ever anything that you feel unsafe doing or have questions about doing, feel free to ask your therapist. That’s part of what they are there for!
Your physical therapist may send you home with the list of exercises to do. They may also decide that you are in too much pain or that your body is not ready for exercises yet. In this case, you may get a set of instructions about icing your injury or applying heat to it or doing some stretches to see if your body will relax.
Starting physical therapy can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Physical therapists are professionals, and they will treat you with kindness and courtesy throughout your journey with them.